Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction
This is a programme developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn from the 1970s at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, USA. While MBSR has its roots in spiritual teachings, the program itself is secular.
The programme is useful in increasing participants’ awareness of their experience (mind, body sensations and emotions) in ways that support an understanding of patterns of thinking, feeling and reacting and enable us to increasingly respond choice-fully to life’s challenges in a more grounded and effective way. The weekly sessions focus on meditational practices: sitting and paying attention to the breath, body, sounds, thoughts and emotions; scanning through the body’s sensations; and simple mindful movement. There are also group exercises that examine the body’s reactivity to stress and explore alternatives to our usual reactions. Many people find MBSR helps them to find a calm place within, and other ways to support their well-being.
MBSR is usually taught as an 8-week group programme (2.5 hours per session). The number of people in the group will vary – check with the teacher for information. The course is preceded by an orientation session where you can meet the teacher and other group members and be introduced to the course content and format. There is also a day of practice usually after session 5 or 6.
The course is largely experiential, and is led by an experienced mindfulness teacher who will have a daily mindfulness practice of their own. Home practice of up to an hour daily is an essential part of the course (participants will be able to download or be given CDs of the different meditation practices as well as being provided with reading material). It is therefore important that you give some consideration to how and where you might fit the home practice in your daily schedule. The practice teacher will also be available (by email or phone) to offer any additional support you need to help you with the course.
Upcoming MBSR courses:
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